We’ve compiled this rundown of the best ski festivals with only good intentions. In the age of the pandemic there is, of course, no guarantee these events are going ahead but we can all live in hope can’t we? We’ve missed partying with our fellow skiers and snowboarders.
A winter festival round-up? In this climate?
Yes, you’re right, planning anything beyond the next news bulletin feels extremely ‘lost your head, mate’ these days. Even more so when plans involve tickets, or travel, or something the government might consider ‘fun’. That’s what two years of sitting in a dimly lit room, staring into a glowing box and having nothing but the ‘tck tck tck’ sound of Slack notifications for company, will do to you.
Honestly though, let us all think (and hope, and pray) positive that COVID-19 (aka the big C-bomb) might decide to keep its chill long enough for us to get back up into them mountains for a slide, a stein and a stage dive this winter. If you’re one of the brave revellers who’ve already bought a ticket to the now sold out Snowboxx and Tomorrowland Winter, we have everything crossed for you.
When it comes to this winter’s high-altitude ho-downs, where the headline acts are as cool as that first sip of Weissbier or face plant in the snow park, we’re going to assume the best. Without further ado then, here’s our guide to some of the finest ski festivals around. We think they’re just the ticket.
What is it? Right on time, it’s the dependable mountain festival juggernaut pulling into town. The big one. The mainstream choice. The one all the cool kids pretend to turn their noses up at. “I liked it back when nobody had heard of it,” they’ll say, before taking one look at this year’s beast of a Snowbombing line-up and begging mum for her credit card details to slam down a deposit.
Who’s there? The genuinely legendary Fatboy Slim and the monumental Bicep headline, with further-down-the-poster picks like Eats Everything, Hannah Wants, My Nu Leng and the Kurrupt FM boys tickling our fancy.
When is it? Where is it? How much is it? ? 4-9 April 2022 in Mayrhofen, Austria, with ticket and accommodation packages starting at £569 for 6 nights.
Rock The Pistes
What is it? Spending a good half-day searching a small country field for your mates is all part of the fun of a festival, right? Glad you agree, because at Rock The Pistes that small country field is slightly scaled up. Scaled up to, oh, only 12 of Europe’s premiere ski resorts, across more than 1,000km, with roughly 25,000 people to sift through. This week-long event takes place in the huge Portes Du Soleil region shared by France and Switzerland, and serves up daily concerts for you to plan your piste missions around.
Who’s there? You know the phrase ‘never look a gift horse in the mouth’? Well, it applies here, only the gift is the fact this one costs no more than your lift pass, and the horse in question represents the crème de la crème of France’s ‘best’ rock and pop music acts that only the longest, deepest, weirdest Spotify Radio deep dive would unearth for you. Still, ‘Squid Lips’ – on at 4pm on 15 March in Morzine’s Le Trempin – sounds good, eh?
When is it? Where is it? How much is it? 13-19 March 2022 across the Swiss-French Portes du Soleil region. Concerts are accessed with your ski pass – a six-day PDS pass is currently 278€ during the festival.
What is it? It’s hard to not get a little excited about Shapes. A somewhat under-the-radar festival compared to the likes of Snowbombing or Snowboxx, but at the same time prolific – with four global events a year, including dates in Oslo, Toronto and Zakynthos – this quirky but uber-cool winter festival feels like a legendary club promoter from Ibiza’s glory days fell into a Boiler Room set. They promise to offer “quality and audacious programming”, “showcasing the latest musical trends and many new exciting artists” in “stunning and unusual locations in Europe and beyond”. Pump it into our veins, doctor!
Who’s there? It’s a very neatly curated international electro affair here, with revered Scottish DJ duo Optimo, Angolan-Iberian Batida (a favourite of Damon Albarn), and Moroccan producer Glitter (bigged up by Jean-Michel Jarre) leading the charge.
When is it? Where is it? How much is it? 28 March – 3 April 2022 in Leysin, Switzerland. A seven-day ski and festival pass costs 149€, with other packages available.
What is it? Going big in the Pyrenees resort of Pas de la Casa, the double-day Hibernation Festival is not messing about when it comes to bringing house and techno kingpins to everyone’s favourite secret snow destination – Andorra. Already riding on the back of a mega reputation as a total rager, Hibernation’s set to be a stand-out this season. This is thanks, in large part, to yet another inevitably monster line-up. Speaking of which…
Who’s there? Paul Kalkbrenner, the German electro maverick who’d be worth the extraordinarily cheap ticket price alone. Plenty more to be announced yet, but to be frank, they had us at ‘Paul’.
When is it? Where is it? How much is it? 18-19 March 2022, in Pas de la Casa, Andorra. Early Bird Two-Day Passes are currently on sale for 40€, with Final Release Passes at 75€. Amazing.
What is it? Continuing in the spirit of putting out a festival guide amidst the icy grip of Covid, shouting about Rise is a bit of a risk. Tickets for this one are flying out the door fast, with only ‘final’ passes now available for this coming-very-soon “party on top of the world” in December. Rise promises an action-packed week of snow, music and festivities in the world-renowned resort of Les 2 Alpes. And with a total of nine stages/venues to go nuts in, who are we to argue?
Who’s there? A right old mix of good stuff, across a vast spectrum that’ll have anyone tapping their size nine Salomons. Sky FX, Horse Meat Disco, Groove Armada and everyone’s favourite disco-homicide witness Sophie Ellis-Bextor will be showing up to get down.
When is it? Where is it? How much is it? 11-18 December 2021 (move! fast!) in Les 2 Alpes, France. Standard ticket with a six-day lift pass starts at £299.
What is it? It’s all in the name, baby! While every other festival on our list goes in the big beats and moving feets direction of electro-techno-dance, Zermatt Unplugged hits the off switch and goes fully acoustic. Spread over five days, and pulling around 30,000 visitors, Switzerland’s most chocolate box village gets a big dose of laid-back vibes at the hand of numerous singer-songwriters across more than 14 venues.
Who’s there? Nothing announced just yet, but if previous performers like Morcheeba, James Bay, Passenger, Tom Odell, Jacob Banks and Boy George (!!) are anything to go by, we’re happy to take the risk.
When is it? Where is it? How much is it? 5-9 April 2022 in Zermatt, Switzerland. Tickets will be released in December 2021.
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